Methodology

Methodology
Just as no one single score or grade tells the whole story or a student, neither does it tell you everything about a school. That’s why Maine’s school grading system is based on several factors including student achievement in reading and math; growth/progress in achievement, and, in particular, the growth of the bottom 25 percent of students (for elementary schools); and the graduation rate (for high schools). Please note Maine schools/districts are provided an opportunity to verify all the data used in their report card.

Read on for the complete methodology for the 2014 report cards, which were calculated using the same formula as in 2013 to allow for comparison between the two years. 

Elementary Schools (Grades 3-8)
Calculations are based on the most recent data available, which are 2013-14 assessments, given to students in grades 3-8. Proficiency accounts for 50 percent of the grade (100 points each for math and reading) and growth accounts for the other 50 percent (50 points each for the growth of all students in math, the growth of all students in reading, the growth of the bottom 25 percent of students from the previous year in math and the bottom 25 percent of students from the previous year in reading).
 
Data used in the school calculation includes grades 3-8 students who participated in the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) in the fall of 2013 or were assessed using the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) in the spring of 2013, and who were continuously enrolled at the school listed on their assessment results for the entire academic year (as determined by counts submitted to the Department by schools in both October and April).

Because the elementary school grades take into account the growth of individual students, it takes two years of assessment data for a student to be included in the calculations. Excluded from the calculations are schools that have no or limited data or have significantly changed school configuration.

Elementary school grades are based on the following measures:

Proficiency

  • Math Proficiency – Percent of the students in each school who achieved an achievement level of proficient or proficient with distinction in mathematics.
  • Reading Proficiency – Percent of the students in each school who achieved an achievement level of proficient or proficient with distinction in reading.

Growth - Individual student growth, year to year, collectively for the school. 

  • Math Growth* – All Students – Measures the collective growth of individual students – that is, how well did individual students improve from the previous testing year. Calculation: total mathematics growth points in a school, divided by the number of all students used in the calculation. (See notes below)
  • Reading Growth* – All Students – Measures the collective growth of individual students – that is, how well did individual students improve from the previous testing year. Calculation: total reading growth points in a school, divided by the number of all students used in the calculation. (See notes below)
  • Math Growth – Bottom 25 percent** – Growth among students in math who scored in the bottom 25 percent in the previous testing year – that is, what was the growth (calculated same as for All Students) among the most struggling students.
  • Reading Growth – Bottom 25 percent** – Growth among students in reading who scored in the bottom 25 percent in the previous testing year – that is, what was the growth (calculated same as for All Students) among the most struggling students.

Assessment participation
State assessments provide important information that informs classroom instruction and school improvement. The participation of all students ensures the progress of all learners is valued and reflected, and provides the most accurate picture of school strengths and challenges.  Additionally, schools are required by State and federal law to meet at least a 95 percent participation rate. Participation of less than 90 percent results in an automatic “F” and participation between 90 and 95 percent results in a one letter grade reduction.

*Growth Calculation
The growth calculation measures whether students are improving (or declining) one year to the next based on achievement levels. It is calculated on each individual student’s growth (or decline). In order to be included in the growth calculation students must have been assessed for two consecutive years.

Students who advance a proficiency level, regardless of what level they were at, as well as students who maintain a proficiency level of 3 (proficient) or 4 (proficient with distinction) are considered to have made growth. There is a bonus weighting for students who advance more than one proficiency level in a year.

Level 1 (substantially below proficient) and level 2 (partially proficient) have been broken into two levels each: 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B, making it easier to show growth and recognize advancement even at levels below proficient.

A “1” or greater is considered to be a year’s growth.

Current Year

1A

1B

2A

2B

3

4

Past Year

1A

0

1

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.4

1B

0

0

1

1.1

1.2

1.3

2A

0

0

0

1

1.1

1.2

2B

0

0

0

0

1

1.1

3

0

0

0

0

1

1.1

4

0

0

0

0

0

1

**Bottom 25 Percent
In order to be included in the Bottom 25 percent calculation students must be continuously enrolled in the same school for two consecutive years. If no students fit that criteria the Bottom 25 percent value will be replaced with the All Students value for the same subject.

Secondary Schools (Grade 11)
Calculations are based on the most recent data available, which is the 2013 Maine High School Assessment (MHSA) and Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP).

Proficiency accounts for 40 percent of the grade (100 points each for math and reading); progress accounts for another 40 percent (100 points each for the progress of all students in math and the progress of all students in reading) and graduation rates account for the remaining 20 percent of the grade (50 points each for the 4-year graduation rate and the 5-year graduation rate).

High school grades are based on the following measures:

Proficiency

  • Math Proficiency – Percent of the students in each school who achieved an achievement level of proficient or proficient with distinction, in mathematics.
  • Reading Proficiency Level – Percent of the students in each school who achieved an achievement level of proficient or proficient with distinction, in reading.

Progress

  • Math Progress – All Students 3-year Average – The most recent three-year average of math proficiency (2013, 2012, 2011) plus the difference between that average and the previous three-year average of math proficiency (2012, 2011, 2010).
  • Reading Progress – All Students 3-year Average – The most recent three-year average of reading proficiency (2013, 2012, 2011) plus the difference between that average and the previous three-year average of reading proficiency (2012, 2011, 2010).
  • 4-year Graduation Rate – Percentage of students from a cohort who graduated after 4 years of high school. (see explanation of Maine’s 4-year and 5-year graduation rates)
  • 5-year Graduation Rate – Percentage of students from a cohort who graduated after 5 years of high school.  (see explanation of Maine’s 4-year and 5-year graduation rates)

Assessment participation
State assessments provide important information that informs classroom instruction and school improvement. The participation of all students ensures the progress of all learners is valued and reflected, and provides the most accurate picture of school strengths and challenges.  Additionally, schools are required by State and federal law to meet at least a 95 percent participation rate. Participation of less than 90 percent results in an automatic “F” and participation between 90 and 95 percent results in a one letter grade reduction.